Friday, December 20, 2013

Chocorons & Christmas mince pie macarons

A few weeks ago my pastry chef/chocolatier extraordinaire of a boyfriend came home one day waxing lyrical about the World Chocolate Championships and how an entrant had included chocorons in his breathtaking sculpture. He said (in his thick Sicilian accent), 'just watch, chocorons are going to be the next cronut'. Ja, ja, I said and carried on paging through my Donna Hay. Well, I'm eating humble pie now as the chocoron explosion has hit the streets of Paris. Apparently invented by Japanese pastry guru Sadaharu Aoki (although boyfriend claims he dipped macarons way before this), the chocoron is a macaron coated in a thick layer of chocolate. Just pure genius.

Hybrid pastries seem to be gaining more and more momentum and with the inspiration of the chocoron fresh in my mind, I set out to create my own, and so, I give to you, the Christmas mince pie chocoron. 
These little babies taste exactly like mince pies and are just so festive. Cover a few in chocolate, pop them in a box and you have an uber trendy gift (but only keep the chocolate covered beauties for those who were good this year!). 

Mince pie chocorons
Makes 20

120g sifted finely ground almonds
200g sifted icing sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
100g egg whites (from about 3 eggs), at room temperature
35g castor sugar
¼ tsp cream of tartar

60g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
¼ cup Amarula
Christmas fruit mince, to taste
Good-quality dark chocolate, for dipping

Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking sheets. Sift together the ground almonds, icing sugar and mixed spice. Begin beating the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed. Once the egg whites are at soft peak stage, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed to medium, if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. Add about 1/4 of the almond/sugar mixture and fold until no streaks remain. Continue to add the almond mixture in quarters, folding until incorporated. Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a fluted nozzle and pipe rows of batter onto the baking sheets in even sizes, giving them space to spread. Tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a toothpick if necessary. Allow the cookies to rest on a level surface for 30-60 minutes until they are no longer tacky to the touch.  While they rest, place an oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat to 130C (fan-forced) or 150C (no fan).  Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes. Allow to cool. 
Make the buttercream by creaming the butter until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and Amarula and whip until combined and a light consistency. Stir in enough fruit mince to your taste and place the icing in a piping bag. Assemble the macaroons by piping a blob of icing onto one macaroon and sandwiching with the other.  Once set, dip the macarons into chocolate using a fork, allow the chocolate to drip off before placing on a lined baking sheet to set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a day before serving.

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